Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani

Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, July 11, 1999

Hear the Mayor's Message

A Blackout that Tested, and Proved, New York City's Character
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

This week, as New York City experienced a very severe heat wave with temperatures as hot as 100 degrees, the people of Washington Heights and Inwood were forced to deal with a terrible situation. As many as 300,000 people in those neighborhoods went without power for 18-and in some cases over 30 hours.

The people of Washington Heights and Inwood dealt remarkably well with the adversity. They supported one another and cooperated with the police and other city officials to ensure that people stayed safe and were able to withstand the heat.

This was a demonstration of exceptional police-community relations-police depending on the people they serve and people depending on and respecting the police. The people of Washington Heights and Inwood deserve recognition for their patience and their resolve.

In fact, their reaction to this crisis sets a wonderful example of how communities around the city and the country can come together in the face of adversity-how we can respond to a challenge by bringing out our best instincts rather than our worst impulses. At the same time, we should realize that this particular crisis never should have happened-and it's something that we will work very, very hard to ensure never happens again. That's the reason I'm forming a special task force to develop strategies for reform, and that's why the City will be filing a lawsuit against Con Edison. This was not a natural disaster. It was a manmade disaster. It could have been avoided, and it should be in the future.

A modern, efficient, accountable power company should not be making excuses or blaming others for a problem of this magnitude. That's what bureaucracies and monopolies too often do. An accountable company should be fixing problems like this one so that they never happen again.

Finally, I want to say how excited I am about the Yankees and the Mets in a subway series-which will, I'm sure, be one of the best baseball matchups of the season. It already has been, at least, of course, until the Yankees and the Mets meet, we hope, in the World Series. Good luck to both of them. From Gracie Mansion, this is Rudy Giuliani.

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